For those without medical care, vision screenings are not always the top concern compared to other personal and medical needs. The Lions Club in Kalamazoo has made it a priority to prevent blindness in children.
A vision screening program helps identify vision problems for children from 1 to 5 years old. At the upcoming Project Connect event in November, vision screenings will be open to all members of the community.
From 2007 to 2010, the program has helped screen 495 children. They are still looking to improve parts of the program, including the wait time to hear results.
“The way we do it now, it could take up to a month for a child’s parents to hear back about the photo screening, and we would like to shorten that wait time and get results to them faster,” McFarland said.For more information on Project Kidsight, including how to set up a screening, or to find out ways to help the project, contact Bill Kowalski at 269-323-0106 or Pat McFarland at 269-434-6356.
Currently, the children are screened by local Lions Club volunteers and the pictures are then processed and taken to an ophthalmologist at the Children’s Hospital of Michigan for evaluation. If a problem is suspected, the child’s family is notified and referred to an eye doctor in the area.
“The earlier a youngster’s eyesight problems are detected, the more successful treatment can be,” Kowalski said.
The screenings can help identify: Strabismus (improperly aligned eyes); abnormal refractive error of the eye, which results in nearsightedness, farsightedness or astigmatism; or cataracts.
Often times, children are not screened before starting school — by then treatment might not be as effective or affordable, Kowalski said. “That’s why we try to get the kids screened when they are young,” he said.
For free vision screenings, consider attending Project Connect on November 17th, from 1pm to 6pm.
Read the full article: http://www.mlive.com/living/kalamazoo/index.ssf/2010/10/lions_club_hopes_to_improve_vi.html